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What purpose does the character of Uncle Ben play in the story?

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paopu | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 1, 2007 at 11:01 PM via web

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What purpose does the character of Uncle Ben play in the story?

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Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted May 1, 2007 at 11:27 PM (Answer #1)

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Uncle Ben acts as Willy's foil. In Willy's mind, Ben is everything Willy is not and hopes to be: successful, bold, "well liked." Ben only appears in Willy's imaginative ramblings.

Willy also wants to be the kind of father his son's can look up to: stong, wealthy, and competent. Ben fits this bill. In Willy's mind, he hears Ben brag: "William, when I walked into the jungle, I was seventeen. When I walked out I was twenty-one. And, by God, I was rich!" Willy bellows back: "That's just the spirit I want to imbue them with! To walk into a jungle!"

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